As red as the blood spilt on battlefields,
The poppy It’s tale to tell,
Of the young ones lying so far from home,
Freed now from their living hell.
There’s no marching feet and wheelchair spin,
The Cenotaph to salute,
But we’ll remember in our hearts,
Those other marching boots.
So many young ones in their youthful zest,
Signed with their crosses on the line,
Who would’ve known they’d die, tied to a post,
Their light extinguished, no more to shine.
Some lie secretly underground,
The tunnel their muddied resting place,
After the walls crumbled into dust,
And they were claimed by Mother Earth’s embrace.
We remember the young who served on land, sea and sky
For their country to retain its pride,
But, through their role in our narrative,
Too many of them paid the price.
The poppy fields of no man’s land,
Hold testament to the stories,
Of comradeship and unbroken bonds,
In our country’s pursuit of glory.
Yes, we remember their sacrifice
And, in our ongoing plight,
We turn to the young once again,
To help us to fight this fight.
But the young will survive this time,
And, when they do,
There will be poppies abounding,
And life will renew.
Shirley Gibson 28.10.2020
As there will not be any arts and craft fairs this year, Wendy has set up a virtual event.
check her Facebook page for other Xmas treats Gibberz Creations.
Reindeer glitter is edible
If you drive along the road from Overton to Heysham, Lancashire you will come to the Village of Sunderland Point, a small village which consists of a row of Georgian houses looking out over an estuary; a sanctuary for many seabirds. The road leading into the village is flooded twice a day at high tide so beware. Sunderland Point was also a prominent port for ships trading in sugar and tobacco particularly those ships that were too big to traverse the narrow waterway leading to the larger Port of Lancaster
If you take a short walk out of the village along a lane overgrown with blackberry bushes and trees, you reach a green field where you will find the grave of a young black slave who was named “Sambo”. It is said that he came to Sunderland Point from the West Indies in 1736 on board his Master’s ship where he served as a cabin boy. “Sambo” was left there when his Master sailed off on a smaller boat to Lancaster on business.
While his Master was away, “Sambo” died. One theory is that he was so stricken by his Master’s abandonment of him that he died of a broken heart. Another is that he wasted away and died from an illness against which he had no immunity. It is said that he died in Upsteps Cottage, No1 The Lane. It is not known whether or not his Master eventually came back for him. I suppose that the whole truth is now lost in the mists of time
“Sambo” or “Samboo” [As stated on his grave stone] was buried in open windswept land looking out towards the Irish Sea. Soon word spread about this little grave in unconsecrated ground and people started to visit the village looking for it.
One such visitor was the Reverend James Watson, a retired headmaster from Lancaster who visited the site in 1795. He was so taken by the stories about “Sambo” that he proceeded to collect money for a plaque upon which he had a poem that he had written engraved.
James’ brother, William Watson, was actually a prominent Lancaster slave trader making the epitaph written by James on Sambo’s headstone all the more compelling :
Full sixty years the angry winter’s wave,
Has thundering dashed this bleak and barren shore,
Since Sambo’s head laid in this lonely grave,
Lies still and ne’er will hear their turmoil more.
Full many a Sand-bird chirps upon the Sod
And many a moonlight Elfin round him trips
Full many a Summer’s Sunbeam warms the Clod
And many a teeming cloud upon him drips.
But still he sleeps — till the awakening Sounds
Of the Archangel’s Trump new life impart
Then the GREAT JUDGE his approbation founds
Not on man’s COLOR but his worth of heart
The Reverend James Watson’s verse on the grave was written in 1796, and can still be seen. The content is a forerunner of Martin Luther King’s famous oration in 1963:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”
She sees a beautiful silver sheen on the blackness of the Tay
A tree stands up in silhouette as if pointing the way
For Tricia running along with zest
Her heart a pounding in her chest
In the distance the dolphins leap
Gliding and diving into the deep
Watched over by the gulls who call out
Their musical murmurs clearer than shouts
Does their freedom mock our solitude
Or are we the mockers with no excuse
Who thought the world was ours to use
But our beautiful land we did abuse
The spring is here and black birds nest
The cherry blossoms flower
They speak of the fleeting nature of life
Love, sorrow and power
So thanks to Mother Nature for this cheer
And welcoming us as guests
Now we must use our power
To give back what was lent
Shirley Costello Gibson 04.04.2020 copyright
30th January 1972, Lagan Valley Hospital
Lisburn, Northern Ireland
You were a wrinkled bundle o’ joy when you first came along
A soldier’s bairn, your eyes squinting up at the world,
You didn’t understand the remarks being made or feel the hurt being wrung,
From the hearts of the women standing there. Anger laced every word
How could we have known that your birth would be a forerunner to such hurt.
It was bloody Sunday and, as I held you near, I knew that life would change,
But the wariness I felt as I carried you along stays with me to this day.
Who knows what made the difference between one woman and the next
But it seemed that we were all on the edge of an unstoppable swirling vortex.
How on Earth had it come to this, the troops had all been welcomed.
Tea and biscuits at every turn. Kindness had been the custom,
But that kindness was somehow changed to hatred and guns led the way.
To bloody slaughter on all sides and families having to pay
They gathered in Creggan to march that day for their basic human rights.
An end to internment and injustice were their goals and they were willing to fight the fight.
As they marched along, with determination in their hearts, the guns opened fire,
And thirteen lay dead in the tarmac and tears, making a bloodied pyre
Who was to blame you hear people shout. The cry goes up “Not me”
Perhaps it was the ministers of the kirks or the Senior officers who led the way
Did the marchers have any part to play? If yes, they paid the price.
No, it was the soldiers who bore the shame although they had no voice.
We look to our Government to clarify its aims.
But the soldiers were pawns in an everchanging game
Politicians guided by sectarian hate wouldn’t budge
Bitterness had set in and conflict was the judge
To Governments who do not value their armed forces,
Remember that, when the chips are down, your fate is on their shoulders.
Our soldiers are not the toys of fools. Their role is to protect .
The cost at times so heavy with no accolades to collect
Nearly fifty years have gone now. We have a fragile peace
But are all of our people valued, whatever colour, belief or creed
It is they who bring us “hope and glory” and this can be achieved
Through mutual respect and trust, unfettered by political division and greed.
At this time of fear and uncertainty, perhaps the old wounds can be healed.
We will enjoy peace and happiness once more and our bonds can again be sealed.
Shirley Gibson 21.03.2020 copyright